By Carolina S. Ruiz Austria

The word "Heresy"

was used by Irenaeus in Contra Haereses to discredit his opponents in the early Christian Church. It has no purely objective meaning without an authoritative system of dogma.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Away From Home

As the season drew near I seriously avoided listening to radio stations that were playing Christmas songs over the radio here in Toronto but after a while that meant less radio listening (or none). So as I dug into my graduate research papers over the last two weeks, I managed to tune out and just keep the songs in the background. It was news of the weather I was usually after and I started getting hooked on the Toronto Classical station.

I have no doubt I will be crying a lot over the holidays. This is my first time away from home on Christmas. I'm not really a big Christmassy type who plans the shopping, the menu and the decking of halls but I sure miss the company and the ritual of it. Back home in the Philippines, those who make Christmas what it is includes the puto-bungbong and bibinka makers/vendors (rice flour cakes that taste like a glimpse of life ever after ---or maybe its because you eat them after mass at midnight); a relative who cooks well (and too much---usually an aunt, uncle or my father!); laughs over your neighbor's gaudily and overdone decor that puts Chevy Chase's movies to shame; exchanging gifts; office get togethers and of course, my wonderful family.

I'll miss the look on my daughter's face when she opens her gifts and the dutiful family get togethers that happen from the 24th and onwards till New Years.

To keep my sanity, Iv'e taken the advice of a friend and classmate (a film buff and avid movie and doicumentary film viewer), and borrowed films to watch during the break. I have seen a couple of good movies that I never got a chance to see (because they were banned when I was young) or simply unavailable by the time their subject matter became pretty much tame by current standards...

So far I have seen "Midnight Cowboy" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday," by John Schlesinger, "Holy Girl" by Lucretia Martel, "Sexual Dependency" by Rodrigo Belloti, "Easy Rider" by Dennis Hopper, "1900" by Betrolucci and "Ice Storm" by Ang Lee.

To think when I was growing up, overhearing adult conversations where the movie was mentioned made it seem like some sort of sex movie and surely during those days it was just that? For merely inlcuding sex, not out of the ordinary sex mind you, just the kind that happens all around the city --- prostitution, it was X-rated. Nowadays this could get an R rating. Yet the movie wasn't about sex at all but the friendship struck by two unlikely characters played by Voight and Hoffman. Great script, great acting and great movie. It probably seemed modern during those days because Schlesinger's techniques were almost MTV-like. (I'm guessing the remote control--- just new in those days, had a lot to do with influencing this particular technique of flashing scenes and he did use it a lot).

One movie I regret seeing is "In the Cut" by Jane Campion which stars Meg Ryan. Its actually a recent film (2003) where she bares all and if you don't want to mess with your Meg Ryan memories (especially When Harry Met Sally, which may be kind of sappy but I have to insist a great and funny movie if only for that fake orgasm scene), don't watch this one.

Its such a silly movie that wants to be a porn movie, a slasher film and feminist movie(?) at the same time it made me want to cry (or laugh out loud). I'm no pornography expert but Meg Ryan's fake orgasm in "When Harry Met Sally" was more memorable than all the bare and "daring" stuff she did in this film produced by her pal, Nicole Kiddman. Another sad part of it was that despite the silly screenplay and plot, two actors who played opposite her (Jeniffer Jason Leigh and Mark Ruffalo ) were actually good. Meg Ryan's caharacter who was supposed to be a smart and independent english professor just came out being weepy, depressed and sexually repressed. She seemed to me crying all the time or at the verge of it, even when she was supposedly having great sex. I don't know what it was but Iv'e seen Meg Ryan do pretty sexy stuff with Nicolas Cage in City of Angels so it can't be that.

Anyway, for a few laughs I also watched "My Cousin Vinny," the comedy which stars Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. (I wonder whatever happened to Marisa Tomei?)I remember that when this movie was already being shown on cable many years ago, I was in law school but I never really saw it. My sister always teased me about Pesci's character which was basically her impression of lawyers (back then and maybe to this day). Not very flattering but it was a funny movie nonetheless. I have asked friends to pass on their "must see" lists to me and maybe I'll be able to locate them here. I figure that as long as I am busy, I'll be crying less. (Although there are films that did make me cry) Midnight cowboy was one of them.


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